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Local MP opposes greyhound ban

Saturday, 9th July, 2016

Local MP Kevin Humphries has said Mike Baird’s banning of greyhound racing needs to be revisited.

The Australian reports that Barwon MP said he would not support the shutdown of the industry.

“We haven’t had a briefing, it didn’t come to our party ... this has been a unilateral decision that needs revisiting,” Mr Humphries told The Australian.

“This is a big ticket for a lot of people in middle Australia who enjoy racing, as is the whole narrative of breeding; for many of them thatís intergenerational.

“It’s not up there with the elite thoroughbreds, but I can tell you if there is a blanket shutdown of greyhound then all racing should be concerned.

“It is too simple a response, it needs to be more sophisticated than that.”

NSW Premier Mike Baird has been accused of ignoring an inquiry’s recommendations by deciding to ban greyhound racing without first putting the plan to parliament.

Inquiry Commissioner Michael McHugh’s first recommendation was that “the Parliament of New South Wales should consider whether the industry has lost its social licence and should no longer be permitted to operate in NSW”.

But the NSW opposition says Mr Baird ignored these recommendations and made a unilateral decision to “wipe out” the entire industry.

“There was no opportunity for industry stakeholders or members of the public to have their say about this,” opposition racing spokesman Michael Daley said.

“No one doubts that there are shocking and unacceptable practices in the greyhound industry, but you don’t close an industry without going through proper processes.”

Greyhounds Australasia has already indicated it will challenge the ban, as unions estimate more than 5000 jobs are under threat.  

NSW Nationals MP Katrina Hodgkinson fears the move will decimate regional communities.

“Breeders, trainers, bookmakers, it affects the livelihoods of so many people. They’re heartbroken, shattered, they feel their world’s come to an end,” Ms Hodgkinson told AAP.

“I had people on the phone to me yesterday afternoon saying what was the point of continuing on, they were going to have to dispose of their dogs.”

If the industry was allowed to continue, Mr McHugh advised sweeping reforms with 79 recommendations to wipe out live baiting and increase oversight of the industry.

But Mr Baird on Thursday said shutting down the industry was the only humane response to the “chilling” report.

While the RSPCA has called for a nationwide end to the sport, lobby groups the National Greyhound Racing United and Australian Racing Greyhound have gathered more than 7800 supporters on two separate petitions calling for the ban to be overturned.

Victorian authorities warn the ban will simply drive breeders and trainers interstate while vets and rescue groups fear the wide-scale euthanasia of hounds.

The state government has vowed to support industry members through the difficult phase, but full details of its industry shutdown plan won’t be revealed until later in the year.-AAP

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